Tag Archives: masturbation

Beyond the Shadow Feminine

Dear Friend and Reader:

We’re now in the last days of the astrological year — the days approaching the Aries equinox. These are the last days of Pisces, the final sign of the zodiac. When the Sun’s position reaches the end of any mutable sign (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces) we’ve arrived at the end of a season, and one energy is dissolving into the next. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the ground is stirring to life. Beneath the ground, cellular activity is exploding as seeds crack open, thrust down roots and then reach for the Sun. Animals are coming out of their dens and the trees are getting ready to burst into bloom.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis for Book of Blue.

In the symbolic world of astrology, one perspective on these last days of the solar cycle can be found in the Sabian Symbols. These are symbols that tell the story of the zodiac degree by degree; there are 360 of them, so that’s almost one per day. The symbols were channeled randomly by a clairvoyant named Elsie Wheeler and an astrologer named the Rev. Dr. Marc Edmund Jones, a rather original guy.

They were reworked in the 1960s by another astrologer, one of the founders of what became known as Humanistic Astrology. This was client-centered rather than chart-centered. (Rudhyar liked to meet for lunch with his new clients before reading their charts, to get to know them better.) The last seven symbols in the series tell a story, which moves in visions like a dream; there are several images of moonlight, then an image of spectral light seen through a prism. We’ve covered them in Thursday’s daily edition.

The last degree of the zodiac (Pisces 30) is symbolized by a boy who looks up at a mountain, seeing the profile of a man, and over the years his face grows into that figure. The idea is one of character development and self-visioning, but with the help of an exemplar — and the feeling of giving the process of self-creation time to work.

In these last degrees there’s also the feeling of some concealed truth emerging from latency. The world takes on a transparent quality. There is plenty of astrology pushing us into deeper layers of self-awareness, which some people may be struggling with as they encounter potentially unpleasant psychological material. Mars retrograde in Virgo has passed through a configuration of asteroids that include Psyche, Eros and Arachne — a real drama.

We have a forum to discuss this article.

The Eruption of Misogyny

One way we’re seeing this acted out in the world around us is with the recent eruption of attempts to control women’s bodies — by regulating birth control and reproductive health services, with state legislators getting between women and their medical professionals, imposing sexual codes of conduct, restricting the flow of information to young people, and a new wave of attempts to mandate monogamous heterosexuality, permitted in marriage only.

Planet Waves
Nice cartoon but — does it really work that way? This is a fantasy of empowerment that suggests that the sensitive, caring guy will get the woman. We all know it’s not really so simple.

Last week, the Republican-controlled Senate in Utah successfully pushed through HB 363, effectively banning sex education courses from covering the subjects of contraception, premarital sex and homosexuality, forcing schools to teach only abstinence and heterosexuality or not have any sex education program. Note, this crap has been going on since 1981, costing American kids worlds of pain and costing the taxpayers billions of dollars.

I even read that some Republicans somewhere have made a rule that nobody who has had premarital sex can run for office. This is the kind of thing I would think of for an April Fool’s Day prank and be rather pleased with myself; but it seems like many politicians are hell bent on outdoing the cartoonists who ridicule them.

Given that spring is the season of Beltane, when passionate lovemaking and sex out in the fields is an offering to the Earth in the spirit of planting the seeds of abundance, it’s little wonder that we’re having economic problems. I recognize that Christianity is designed specifically as an attack on Paganism (which means an attack on the organic world, which it readily admits), but we might want to consider the metaphysics involved. Humans are part of the natural cycle of fecundity, which means fruitfulness. Sexuality is not only natural; it’s related to everything we do and in some way soaks into or sweats out of every relationship we have, particularly to life itself. Unless you’re Dolly the Sheep, you’ve been fucked into existence. OMG.

It would seem that by banning most forms of sex, information about sex, choices about sex and feelings about sex, the goal is to cut people off from their potential, their expression of their natural feelings and from abundance. And why? Gee, it seems there’s a social control program born every minute. Attacking sex, and people’s relationship to their own body, works like a charm in implementing those agendas.

Planet Waves
Christianity is the most anti-sex religion of the lot because none of its main figures, according to the story, ever had sex. It was a family of all virgins, a concept used to turn people against human love and their own bodies.

Christianity — the most anti-sex religion in history, because all of its principal figures (Jesus, Joseph and Mary) are allegedly virgins — has spent most of the past 20 centuries fertilizing the fields not with love but with the blood of soldiers, and of children, and of men and women uninvolved in combat. Some people may not like the logic, but where you ban love and pleasure you get warfare and bloodshed.

Note that this week, while the anti-sex fever reached a new peak, a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan murdered 16 civilians asleep in their beds and wounded many others. But no, for $1 million a year per soldier, we’ll just leave them all there for a while, making sure things stay nice and calm. And as if we have not had enough warfare for one lifetime (wars propagated by the United States have gone on nonstop since I was born 48 years ago, which was after WWI, WWII and Korea) there is widespread talk that the thing we really need the very most right now for the benefit of the world is to bomb Iran.

If we count from when WWI began tearing Europe apart starting in 1914, we are approaching a century of nearly nonstop war. And what are we as a responsible, advanced civilization, going to do about it?

But of course! The obvious solution — for some — is to ban sex. Or at least to ban sex outside of marriage, and sex where women have any control over their bodies.

And you might think: men! Leave it to men! This is misogyny! Women are being oppressed!

Except for one thing. In the politics of love, the “male party” has been cast as the one that is pro-promiscuity and against marriage and the “female party” is the one that’s supposedly pro-marriage and against dallying around. These of course are the official party lines. I will say that I know very few men who pressure their peers into marriage, and many, many women who succeed in pressuring their female peers into marriage — no matter how miserable they think it’s made so many people around them. Forever and anon, it seems the thing to do.

Now, a contingency of men are trying to enforce codes of morality and bodily control over everyone, but it seems that the female body is the specific target of the attack. We might say that’s because that’s the one where pregnancy happens, but deeper down I think we all have the feeling that the men in question are intimidated by female sexual power.

Men Embodying Female Shadow

I have another theory: the men involved are providing a voice and a projection screen for women’s denial of their own sexual power. The attempt by men to ban the discussion may be a reflection of women’s refusal to take up the discussion, to educate themselves and one another, to educate their children, and to insist on honest sex education in schools.

It is girls and women, after all, who actually get pregnant — they have the most at stake. I am aware that there are some enlightened women who really give their children the tools they need. But I know too many young women whose mothers refused to give them any tools at all, who turned them against sex and their bodies, and who indoctrinated them into compulsory heterosexual monogamy. Then there are those who allow their daughters to be injected with Gardasil, which is a neurotoxin and runs the risk of sterility.

Planet Waves
Illustration of how ridiculous it is that abstinence indoctrination leaves young people with no concept of how their bodies work.

I’ve worked with many female clients in their 40s and 50s who get out of marriages and don’t have a clue what to do with themselves, how to handle sex, or men, or their own feelings and desires. They often need the most basic sex education, for which I refer them to books like The Joy of Sex and The Hite Report.

I heard a story this week of a mother who was freaked out that her 14-year-old daughter is into boys. Not sex with boys — hanging out with them. The mom said, “She’s not allowed to like boys until she’s 16!”

My theory is that these Republican dudes who want to probe female bodies with ultrasound devices and ban contraception and sex education and force women to carry the child of their rapist, well, they’re just expressing a much deeper level of misgiving and of ignorance. They’re acting out the drama for us; they’re our elected oppressors because that’s what you need if you’re going to be oppressed. Basically, I’m saying we let these ugly people do the dirty work for us.

If many, indeed most, of the secrets of fertility and childbirth are contained in the female body, and we now have this voice trying to enforce ignorance, and a ban on pleasure, choice and self-determination (including the ongoing war against midwives), maybe these men are acting out the shadow feminine — the attributes of femaleness that many women themselves tend to deny. It’s easy to say “men are afraid of female power and mystery” but that begs the question — how do women feel about these things?

If, as seems to be the case, men are trying to say that women must exist within a universe of no sexual choices whatsoever except whom to marry, what is the other side of the discussion? Obviously sexual autonomy goes a lot further than the right to birth control and abortion — but the discussion rarely goes any further. It’s as if all women can do is defend their right to these two basic choices — however meekly that’s happening — but outwardly claiming the right to pleasure and sexual choices is still taboo.

In this situation, taboo means cloaked in guilt and shame. I don’t blame anyone for this; we have all been subjected to the guilt and shame campaign (and we still are). Yet just like the feminists I knew as a teenager explaining to me that the opposite of anti-abortion is not pro-abortion, it’s pro-choice, the opposite of guilt is not being anti-guilt — it’s affirming freedom and pleasure.

We have a forum to discuss this article.

Why Masturbation is Still Taboo — and Why It’s the Key

Before I embark on the taboo side of this subject, I want to acknowledge the progress that has been made on masturbation, and in particular, female masturbation, the past 40 years. The world has had a lot of help from one person — Betty Dodson — who was the first person to come out publicly as a masturbator and advocate of self-given orgasm. She did not do this to teach “sexual technique.” She has been clear that this is about your holistic relationship to your body and to existence. Betty teaches masturbation as the core component in a holistic vision of life.

Female masturbation has become something of a widescale fascination of both men and women. Anyone concerned that pornography is violent or demeaning should be gratified by the honoring and indeed reverence for female masturbation in contemporary pornography. Websites like Beautiful Agony and Solotouch honor both men and women, though on many ‘traditional’ porno sites you could watch women masturbate nonstop for months until your computer eventually needs to be restarted.

Planet Waves
Who, me? Masturbate? Christine O’Donnell, former senatorial candidate from Delaware and member of Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth (SALT). Photo from MTV “Sex in the 90s” video. Note the body language of her fellow purity crusader to the right.

There has been a proliferation of woman-centered sex toy stores, including Babeland and Good Vibrations, with many independently-owned ‘sexuality boutiques’ as well.

Yet despite the emergence of a masturbation subculture, I believe the taboo is still going strong — embodied in abstinence-only indoctrination of teenagers, and all of the religious philosophies at its core. The obsession with marriage that we all see is an attempt to teach young people that masturbation is wrong and that it’s not ‘real sex’ — the kind you supposedly have when you’re married. This also includes the indoctrination that every other form of sexual exploration (especially same-sex play) is wrong. Anti-sex crusaders understand that masturbation is same-sex play, and therefore (in their minds) it must be just one little shade away from being queer.

Now, the truth is that you can’t prevent people from masturbating, but you can do your best to make them feel guilty about it. You can shame them and teach them that it’s wrong, as we see former Delaware senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell doing (in her meek, mild and adorably subversive way) in this famous video from 1996. Note that she states openly, “It is important that we discuss this from a moral point of view.” But why, exactly, is that? What about a biological point of view, or a psychological one? This is merely an example of a widespread teaching, which has made its way into public schools in 49 states in the form of abstinence indoctrination.

When anti-sex forces want to go for the jugular, they go for masturbation. It’s not just the Mormons, but they are famous for their vicious abuses of children and teens on this topic.
In fact, with rare exceptions, nearly all branches of Christianity wage war on masturbation, as do many other religious sects. Masturbation is the conservative nightmare of sex. You don’t need anyone else to do it. It exists far outside the health care system; it’s inherently disease and pregnancy-proof; there is no way to tax, prosecute or regulate it. It’s nice to have a vibrator, but God-given fingers work just as well.

There are three reasons I believe that masturbation presents a persistent controversy. And these are the same three reasons that I believe masturbation must be at the heart of any sex education program, or any attempt at sexual enlightenment by anyone at any age.

Reason One. Masturbation leads to self-knowledge. It starts with knowledge of what makes you feel good, and how your body works, as well as what you want. If you know what makes you feel good, you’re less likely to do what hurts. If you can take care of yourself, you’re less likely to need someone else to take care of you. Yet if approached consciously, masturbation also leads to a depth of self-awareness that is essential for navigating life. If we remember that life is created by sexual feelings (which lead to experiences), then we can experiment with the idea that those sexual feelings contain information about existence. As Lou Reed said, “Self knowledge is a dangerous thing — the freedom of who you are.” He meant dangerous to people with an agenda for you. Part of the self-knowledge offered by masturbation is what happens in the unspeakable cosmic self communion of orgasm.

Planet Waves
Betty Dodson (second from left) teaches a women’s Bodysex Workshop in her apartment in New York City. Betty is an adult sex educator who has helped tens of thousands of women over the years. This is a scene from her new DVD, which is available on her website.

Reason Two. Masturbation is impossible to regulate. This is true of the physical experience; at least in Western society, it’s possible to find some time alone every now and then.
But it’s especially true for the mental and emotional aspect of the experience, which as you know are total, unmitigated anarchy. Within your own mind, you can do anything you want to, with or for anyone you want. This includes people of any sex, gender or species, such as trisexual space alien fantasies or the little hottie who works next to you. Obviously this universe of imagination is not constrained by availability, appropriateness, whether anyone might reciprocate or whether other intelligent life exists in the universe. Guilt is an attempt to corrupt people’s imagination, and thus attempt to steal their freedom from them, which explains the nonstop campaign. Yet everyone knows it doesn’t work, except to create doubts and misgivings, which nearly everyone overrides and then comes back for more anarchistic, unregulated fun. Still the guilt IS a problem, and it’s what we need to unravel.

Reason Three. Masturbation subverts marriage and encourages independence. It doesn’t prevent marriage — it opens up your relationship to yourself, and then points to the existence of every form of sexual expression other than what is allowed under the terms of the marital sex license. By giving anyone control over their orgasm, it subverts all forms of codependent relationships. Christine O’Donnell was onto this one in that famous MTV video when she said, “The reason you don’t tell them that masturbation is the answer to AIDS and all these other problems that come with sex outside of marriage is because, again, it is not addressing the issue. You’re going to be pleasing each other. And if he already knows what pleases him, and if he can please himself, then why am I in the picture?” Exactly!

She gets it! If people are more sexually autonomous, that, in turn, translates to other forms of independence.

You would think that if the problem is premarital sex, overuse of birth control pills, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and too many abortions, the solution would be teaching young people about masturbation — and proposing that it’s a viable option. But the fact that masturbation is considered as damnable as any other form of sex reveals the true agenda.

The Personal is Political — Really

Did I ever tell you the story of my dialog with Carol Hanisch, the radical feminist lesbian (and co-founder of Redstockings) who in 1969 came up with the phrase “the personal is political” that you see quoted in this space so often?

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis for Book of Blue.

If not, then now is a good time. A few years ago I looked her up and we had an email correspondence. In the course of that exchange, I proposed that if the personal is political, then masturbation, one of the most deeply personal expressions in life, must be one of the most direct acts of political liberation you could ever want.

She didn’t get it. “Sometimes masturbation is just masturbation,” she said (perhaps unconsciously referencing Sigmund Freud’s infamous remark that “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”).

She was really, really pissed off when I suggested she didn’t understand her own theory, and accused me of being a patriarchal so-and-so. But truly — if the whole political system is engineered as a sexual repression machine, and draws its power from there*, and we are now seeing this standing before us in stark naked form, then when you find your own inner freedom, you’re also declaring your freedom from the political BS. We just need to find a way out of how that same political BS (instigated along with religion) is designed to make us feel wrong for feeling anything at all.

Unless, of course, political freedom doesn’t include feeling good, or the freedom to alter the social order to your suiting. Feminism is often on the same warpath as conservatism — the crusade against “pornography” is an example. While it’s true there is a new generation of pro-sex, pro-sexwork and pro-porn feminists, we’re not allowed to hear from them very often, and their mothers and grandmothers in the anti-sex, anti-porn feminist movement are typically fighting them every time they try to show a movie or have a conference on their campus. This is the definition of female liberation that includes telling them what they cannot do with their bodies (be photographed, make sexy films, charge money for sex, tell people about sex toys, and so on).

Part of the problem we face is that both ends are playing against the middle: the conservatives who would regulate women, and the women who would regulate women. They can knock themselves out. I propose that if you want to be free — politically free or personally free, since they are the same thing — then take control of your own orgasm.

Not Just a Canary

We recently had a reader suggest in a blog comment that sex is the canary in the coal mine — and that recent events show us that the canary is dying from lack of oxygen. I replied and said that just because it’s a bellwether does not mean it’s merely that. There is a nearly total misunderstanding, or lack of information, about the role of sex, and sexual feelings, in consciousness, personhood and creativity. Sex is not simply an indicator of autonomy; it is the very thing at the core of autonomy.

You may think I’m overstating the case, but then you’ll have to explain why every social control program begins with a sexual repression campaign. Yet to free ourselves from this, we have to take sex out of the political realm and claim it back as personal material.

Planet Waves
Photo by Beth Bagner for Book of Blue.

One of the reasons that the attack on sex, which is currently being done as an attack on women, works so well is because the response is almost always defensive. Shame prevents it from being anything else. If the attack is on sex for pleasure, or the freedom of choice, then an effective response would need to be the positive assertion: I am free to choose whatever is right for me, and the other essential piece, I can share with others whatever we mutually consent to share.

We think that the correct response to repression is, “You cannot repress me like that.” I propose it would be, “I am free to feel what I want.” But if that freedom, or even venturing toward it a little, is met with a guilt backlash or even more overwhelming shame, there will be silence on the other end of the line. Note, the guilt is not organic. It was put into us like a toxin. Because it seems like it was “always there,” we think it belongs there. But it was not always there, and it does not belong there (inside you).

There is only one reason to avoid the sexual conversation, and with that accomplished, existence itself becomes something that we must feel guilty about. Given the proliferation of drugs that serve basically to relieve guilt — we call them “antidepressants” — there is a lot of that going around.

Sex is not a canary in the coal mine. It’s the oxygen itself; it’s the carotid artery that brings the blood to the brain. If the canary looking a little wobbly is an indicator to take action, that action simply must involve claiming sex as one’s personal domain. That also means claiming all of the shame that’s been attached to it, and proceeding consciously from there, and claiming the task of healing that shame. Nobody else can do it for you. You can have help, for sure, but ultimately, you have to accomplish this one as your own quest.

We seem to have no problem asserting that men are terrified of women being sexually free. But I would ask women: How do you feel about being sexually free? How do you feel about the men in your life being sexually free? How do you feel about your fellow women being sexually free? Unless you’re willing to stand up for the people you love, your choices on your own behalf will have little positive energy behind them. You cannot assert your freedom meaningfully and also deny the freedom of others.

The men who are purporting to do this to women are not going to get freedom out of it; they are trying to create for themselves the primary option to be a rapist. The men who understand that women have options get to be something other than an attacker. Yet the opposite of being raped is not not being raped. The opposite of being raped is choosing the sex you want, the life you want and the relationships you want. And in that choice is everything.

There’s an even simpler way to look at it. When you hear misogynist insanity being spewed, ask yourself: How do I feel about my body, my sexual feelings, my sexual choices and my orgasm? That’s the bottom line.


Eric Francis

Note to Readers: We will distribute next week’s main edition on Wednesday evening, featuring the monthly horoscope. On Friday we will run a short edition featuring Priya Kale’s weekly horoscope. There will not be a mailing on Tuesday.

* Footnote about the political machine drawing its power directly from sexual repression. A 20th century medical doctor, philosopher and scientist named Wilhelm Reich figured out why leaders seeking political domination over a society go after sex first. Frustrated sexual impulses are converted by the psyche to what he called the “mystical longing” — a kind of pseudo-spiritual feeling, and a powerful one. That mystical longing is usually answered in the form of a charismatic leader, who plays the role of savior — who has a lot of power over people, rooted in control of their sexuality (which has roots going to the core of their psyche). Without the feeling of sexual starvation, we would have no interest in the leader or any of the political nonsense, or an additional serving of sexual purity indoctrination, that he or she (usually he) spews. This is covered in Reich’s book The Function of the Orgasm.


Planet Waves

On the Horizon: Aries Point New Moon

The Sun is moving through the last degrees of Pisces, heading for the Aries equinox early next week. That’s when the Sun ingresses Aries. The new astrological year begins, sidereal time resets to 00:00, the spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere and day and night are equal all over the planet.
The Sun also makes its annual conjunction to the Aries Point, which is a fancy way of saying the first degree of Aries. The Aries Point, in scientific terms, is the place where we align the zodiac of the seasons (western astrology) and the zodiac of the stars (used in Indian astrology). This little spot in the zodiac has some interesting properties. One of them is a magnifying effect; things that happen when something significant — such as the Sun or a planet — is contacting the Aries Point, can translate into big news with a personal impact.

Continue reading.

Planet Waves

Santorum Wins in Deep South, Signaling KKK and Catholics Making Nice

In the latest round of Republican presidential primaries this Tuesday, Rick Santorum — everyone’s favorite anti-sex, anti-women monger — won Mississippi and Alabama. Newt Gingrich finished second in both states, while Mitt Romney came in third — but Romney won in Hawaii and American Samoa (the Pacific territory, not the Girl Scout cookie). Ron Paul, still in the race, did not campaign heavily in either Deep South state. According to exit polls, people who say it’s important they share a candidate’s religious beliefs favored Santorum. Given that Santorum is Catholic, most Christians in the South are Protestant, and the KKK used to target Catholics as well as blacks with their terrorism, does this allegiance count as progress? Of course, the common denominators are fear, ignorance, hate and a determination to control others. But who’s counting? After all, Santorum also won with women and young voters; clearly the mind control is reaching the very people who have the most to lose by electing him. And here’s another fun fact: in a survey of 600 likely GOP primary voters in Alabama, only 14 percent consider Obama a Christian, while 45 percent said he is a Muslim and 41 percent were not sure. Mississippi had similar numbers for that question. It seems that no matter how often Obama states he is Christian, or is compared to Jesus, those determined to believe otherwise will not let facts get in their way. And they vote.


Planet Waves

Study Finds that Sexual Rejection Turns Fruit Flies into Drunks

Sexually rejected fruit flies will binge on alcohol, a study conducted by scientists at UC San Francisco has demonstrated. Using normal mating behavior, the biologists were able to sort out sexually satisfied fruit flies from those who had been rejected. Rejected ones became drunks.

Planet Waves
Let’s go out for a drink.

“When placed by themselves in a new container and presented with two straws, one containing plain food and the other containing food supplemented with 15 percent alcohol, the sexually rejected flies binged on the alcohol, drinking far more than their sexually satisfied cousins whose advances were never spurned. The difference was not only apparent in their behavior. It was completely predicted by the levels of neuropeptide F in their brains,” according to a report on the study.

Neuropeptide F is a neurological chemical associated with emotional rewards that the brain generates through sexual activity. “The male flies that were paired with receptive virgin females from the start and successfully mated had lots of neuropeptide F in their brains and drank very little alcohol,” the scientists said. “Rejected flies, on the other hand, had lower levels of neuropeptide F in their brains, and sought alternative rewards by drinking to intoxication.”


Planet Waves

Pesticide Corn Probably Isn’t Good For You, Scientists Warn

Twenty-two leading scientists, experts in pest resistance, have written an urgent letter to the EPA asking the agency to warn farmers about the hazards of Monsanto’s genetically engineered Bt corn, the Organic Consumers Association has reported.

Planet Waves
Image from Tree of Liberty.

The frankencorn is planted on millions of acres across the U.S. and Canada. It’s been gene-spliced with bacterial DNA that produces Bt insecticide in every cell of the plant (similar to what Monsanto did with the New Leaf potato, which has to be registered as a pesticide). Monsanto’s misleading promise was that farmers could plant Bt crops and not have to spray pesticides, but corn rootworms have begun to develop resistance.

Monsanto’s insecticide-producing bacterial DNA survives digestion and is now found in the blood of more than 80% of North American women — and their fetuses. Scientists say the exposure comes from a typical (non-organic) diet, primarily through the consumption of animals fed GMO crops. The chronic health impacts of exposure to GMO Bt genes is unknown, but Monsanto’s own study of rats fed Bt crops showed liver and kidney damage.

With Ceres (a minor planet related to crops and agriculture) conjunct Eris (chaos, revolt, consequences) in Aries, our culture’s fractured conceptions of food and health keep making the news. Those two minor planets are forming a trine to Pholus, the planet of ‘small cause, big effect’ — and we’re only beginning to see the big effects of GMO corn, which some foresaw but many denied.


Planet Waves

You Can Spend an Entire Day with Melanie Reinhart!

One pre-conference intensive worth attending at the United Astrology Conference is being taught by Melanie Reinhart. It’s called “The Four Angles: Structure, Purpose, and Container of Incarnation.” The class addresses how to use what are called the mundane angles — the ascendant, the descendant, the MC and the IC. Melanie writes, “The four angles anchor the mandala of our life and describe our orientation in time and space, providing the symbolic material with which to approach the significant life-questions: ‘Who am I?’, ‘Where do I come from?’, ‘Who am I in relation to you?’, and ‘What does the world ask of me?’ We consider the meaning of each angle by sign, aspect and the transit process initiated by the outer planets including Chiron.” Melanie is an accessible teacher who gently blends the practical with the spiritual. This class is being held on May 24 and is an all-day program. All of the pre- and post-conference intensives are listed here.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

‘Evolve 2012 Initiative’ Focuses on Financial Stability in the 2012 Era

Lev Nathan has created a four-week speaker series on the theme of entrepreneurship in the 21st century. More and more people are “going it alone,” as the business models of society change and technology allows for more freedom. This is a four-week series that begins Monday. The cost is $72 for the whole program, which includes call-ins and the ability to listen to recordings online. The program features numerous speakers who are outlined on the website for the project. There are integration sessions and facilitated conversations using the Vistar Method for Evolutionary Circles. I am one of the presenters in the program, which is in the form of a one-hour interview about creating your own business amidst the rapidly changing times in history.


Planet WavesWaking Up from the 10-Year Snooze

Here is the edition of Planet Waves FM for Wednesday, March 14. The top file is the podcast itself, lasting about 35 minutes. It covers the conjunction of Mercury and Uranus as a highlight of the current Mercury retrograde.

Planet Waves

The podcast’s blog page also includes a reading of The Burning of Paper Instead of Children, by Adrienne Rich. The poem is a reference to an incident during the Vietnam War protests when nine Catholics were arrested for burning draft records in Catonsville, Maryland.

The group used homemade napalm, or jellied gasoline, to burn the files, which were made of paper. Napalm was being used at the time in Vietnam, dropped from airplanes to burn entire villages, including children.

As promised, here is the link to purchase the 2012 Spring Report — it’s $24.95 for all 12 signs.

If you’re looking for the Pisces, Aquarius or Capricorn birthday readings — about one hour each and getting excellent reviews from our customers — here is a link to purchase those.


Planet Waves

This section also includes the upcoming publishing schedule! The March monthly horoscope (long edition) was published Wednesday evening, Feb. 22. Inner Space Monthly was published Tuesday evening, Feb. 28. We published Genevieve Hathaway’s Moonshine Horoscope for March on Tuesday, March 6. The next Planet Waves monthly will be the April edition, which will be published on the evening of Wednesday, March 21. This will include coverage of the spring equinox. There will not be a regular Friday edition that week; Priya Kale will stand in for Eric Francis for the weekly horoscope of Friday, March 23.


Planet Waves

Friday, March 16, 2012. Weekly Horoscope #895. | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Your chart gives an image of you remembering something brilliant that you forgot. Something, such as an idea. You may have solved a problem, then misplaced the solution. You may have come up with a creative concept — an article, a book, a song, a film, an invention — then it got pushed to the back of your notebook, or you never bothered to write it down. Yet there is an underlying story here — there is something you may remember about yourself. It may be a discovery you made, such as direct contact with the energy that would guide you to a solid sense of direction. One quality that it might have is that the inner revelation is so striking you have no idea what you might do with it, and that might lead you to set it aside yet again. In truth, we’re talking about the recognition of who you are, which can arrive in the form of direct contact with your inner being — yet it will feel like remembering something you’ve felt before, maybe a long time ago, no matter how vague or dream-like the memory is.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Are you feeling overwhelmed? I see a few possibilities. You may be in a cycle that you don’t know how to get out of. Or, you may be noticing some qualities of yourself that you wish you could change, but you’re not sure how to do it. These qualities might exist inside your idea of yourself as a ‘good person’ or ‘helpful person’ and may even lead you to wonder whether that’s really true. Be aware that you’re in the midst of a magnifying effect — certain elements of your psyche are under a lens right now, where you can see them and where you can, in fact, address your concerns. But that’s not all that’s happening; you’re making discoveries about the love that you have to offer, and you may be figuring out that the only thing you really can do with love is to give it away. Whatever else you may be working out — and there do seem to be a few deep issues — there’s a miracle waiting for you in the recognition that love is what you give.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You cannot control how people perceive you, so you might not want to put too much energy into pretending that you can. You can have a lot more fun being yourself with no particular attempt at spin or image control, and noticing how other people respond. Push the bounds of what’s considered appropriate. Say what you don’t usually dare to say, and go one layer deeper. You may find yourself in unusual company, as in among people you don’t usually hang out with, and also entirely different kinds of people than you’re accustomed to. The truth is you’re a lot more like them than you may think. You are one of the slightly odd, eccentric, creative critters that people look up to because they have that extra edge of freedom. What your charts are suggesting is that now is the time to embody that in a bold way. There is indeed freedom in not caring what people think, but at the same time learning something from how they respond.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Success is an ongoing experiment — not a destination. Remember that this week, as the experiment proceeds in some interesting directions. To facilitate this, I suggest you stay vocal and visible. Announce your existence to anyone you want to make contact with, particularly people you look up to or admire. I suggest that the transition be a respectful approach to a colleague or potential collaborator rather than ‘fan mail’. Investigate organizations that you might want to be involved with — merely on the basis of the affinity that you share with them. If you look, you will see people, or networks of people, with whom you want to share your energy. None of this may get immediate results (but then it could very well). The one key is approaching from a place of openness and curiosity rather than attachment to an outcome; you’re in an environment of ‘expect the unexpected’, which actually means that the likeliest outcomes are not on your list. This one fact is good for at least half the fun.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — I have a couple of experiments to propose for you, around the theme of money and value. Experiment one is take some cash out of the bank, if you can. Take out more than you would normally carry — as much as you can afford, or as much as makes you a little nervous to have. Carry it in your pocket and don’t spend it. Feel it as potential that you can use at any time for any purpose you want — but leave the possibilities open. Experiment two is to consider your value in any way besides monetary. Keep this as close as possible to the surface of your thoughts. Consider the influence of your ideas, the value of your time toward a goal, the value of your help to others and the appreciation that they may feel for you. Then, exert some of that influence. Make an idea known, that you might ordinarily keep to yourself. Help someone when you have the option not to. Contribute to a group project by adding your energy. As you do all of this, note the differences between money and value.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Introducing the Planet Waves 2012 Spring Report by Eric Francis

Spring 2012 is the wildest season I’ve ever seen in 18 years of doing around-the-clock astrology [listen to short audio preview here]. It fits the 2012 pattern of ‘everything, all at once’, even making that sound like an understatement. I am working on the report even as we edit this issue, and it’s coming out beautifully — every sign is coming through loud and clear and distinctive.

Planet Waves

We have retrogrades of all three inner planets involved — Mercury, Venus and Mars. There is a rare Venus transit of the Sun — an exact conjunction of Venus and the Sun that you will be able to see if you have a clear view during daylight hours (you will need special equipment to protect your eyes). There are eclipses of the Sun and the Moon. And then, just four days after the Cancer solstice, we have the first exact square of Uranus and Pluto.

In honor of putting all this action to work for you, I’m preparing a special Spring Report for all 12 Sun signs and rising signs, as well as an introduction to the astrology that will be useful to everyone. This is a package of all 12 signs for one price. I’m designing it so that you can actually put many of the signs into use — for example, Virgo will be able to use the Gemini report as a career reading. Pisces can use Virgo’s report as a relationship reading, and so on. I give suggestions at the end of each sign, and will do a detailed description so you can get maximum use from this product.

All 12 signs are now available for $24.95. The report is getting rave reviews from people who pre-ordered, including these words from a customer named Donna: “OMG — thank you thank you thank you — just spent this morning listening to my [Spring Report] info, and am so blown away by the accuracy (and relief!) in this experience. Thanks so very much for your part in supporting this work and for showing up in the way that you do!”. Here is the link to order. Thank you, and enjoy.


Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — There’s a delightful little drama that’s been developing in your sign, involving Mars retrograde. For the details, you will need to read the articles on the Planet Waves blog, but I can sum up here. Mars retrograde is taking you on a journey into yourself, and its most recent stop was a visit in the land of how convoluted the psychology of sexual desire can be. This plays itself out in your relationships as a constant crisis of faith, self-criticism and a kind of perfectionism that you’re seeing doesn’t get you anywhere. Yet this is not the destination of Mars retrograde — this transit goes deeper, to the point where Mars opposes Chiron in Pisces. This puts you in contact with a core layer of yourself: with the source of your power and also of your pain, which are closely related. The key to growth, as you may know, is learning from everything and taking any experience as a means to self-knowledge. Keep going past what you think you don’t know; past what confuses you; past what makes you doubt yourself, and follow the story deeper, day by day.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — If you’ve ever been in therapy, maybe you got to this point once or twice: you realize that the complicated psychology of other people is too much to deal with, and it’s not your problem anyway. As an antithesis to the games people play, both with themselves and with others, you merely have to notice how people treat you, including whether they mean what they say. You can cut all the games short by using these basic criteria. It helps a lot if you stop trying to understand the seemingly complex and sometimes self-defeating motives of others, and focus exclusively on what drives you. As you grow to understand yourself better, others will become increasingly transparent. Some people are motivated by the desire for communication and community. Others spend their lives avoiding this. While it’s never really possible to sort humanity into two distinct camps, people tend to lean one way or the other. Now, think of this as the one question you have for yourself: Which is your preference, and how do you express it?

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You must be thinking: there has got to be some kind of conspiracy. You keep meeting the same kind of person, who has the same basic problems. The world of demented relationships, denial, pills and attempted glamour stretches from the trailer parks to the suburbs of every city to Hollywood, in an unbroken line of connection — unbroken, that is, except for your need to break free. There is a force deeper and more powerful than the prevailing sickness of our culture that is drawing you deeper into your core. You might think of this as a quest for your inner healer, the aspect of your psyche that knows you so well, and that knows how to turn struggle into strength. I’m not sure you’ve heard it in those words, but I think that this is the essence of healing. There’s a reason so many spiritual texts say that all things work together for good; I would propose that they must be worked, together, for good — and that what serves your healing will ultimately serve the healing of the people around you. We see every day how humans can be an adverse influence on one another; it’s time to consider how we can build a community of mutual witness and positive example.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Take advantage of this moment; that advantage is that you have some perfect opportunities to ground your ideas, to put them into solid form, and to integrate them into your career plan. If you don’t have a career plan, this is the time to make one — based not on what you wish you could do but rather on what you actually do, what you love to do, what you express the desire for by taking action. Clean up old plans, with no attachment to things that don’t work, are not fulfilling or don’t meet your needs. You’re not going for perfection here, but a general sense of correctness. Good enough means worth investing your precious time and energy into. Yours is a fire sign, which means you’re a brilliant initiator with excellent ideas — but your disadvantage is your tendency to be so in the moment that you don’t consciously build a foundation for the future. What you’re doing now is part uncovering and dusting off the old foundations, part repairing them, and part building new structures.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You seem to be in the midst of an emotional tizzy of some kind, though it may be subtle. Mainly it’s messing with your confidence, but I have a suggestion. You’re better off, for now anyway, being a little off-kilter, as if you just stepped off of a boat and can still feel the motion of the waves even as you step on dry land. I suggest you feel each step you take, putting your feet on the ground carefully and one at a time. You have an opportunity to take nothing for granted. This may involve a specific emotional matter very close to home. The astrology for the next few days might make you inclined to jump to conclusions and be emotionally reactive — that won’t help. Bide your time and listen to what others are saying, and listen to what that deep voice in your belly is saying to you. You really do know how you feel, but it just may take you a little while to figure it out, and to feel confident that how you feel matters. There is no rush. Remember that, especially when you’re inclined to speed things along.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Recent events seem to have stirred up something of a psychological disturbance for you, and I suggest you take some time and let the waters settle down. Ask yourself the question: What is this really about? You seem to be aware that there are deep and perhaps troubling issues. I suggest you take your time with this and not decide it’s something that you can or must work out all at once. There are many excellent developments brewing in some of the most visible areas of your life, and you don’t want to divert energy away from them. I suggest you maintain a devotion to healing in the most positive way you can — as a loving commitment to your personal truth — and gently go deeper to figure out what you’re really working through. Meanwhile, you have some opportunities to be more visible than you normally are — and to feel more appreciated for what you do. You can help your healing process by carefully noticing how you feel when people express their authentic gratitude and admiration for you.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — The Sun is now moving through the very last degrees of the zodiac in Pisces, approaching the vernal equinox in the sign Aries. This transition has at least two layers of meaning for you. The last degrees of Pisces have a visionary quality; each day brings a new sensation of transparency, of change, and some taste of what is possible. Make sure you look carefully enough to notice, both in your inner world and the one that seems to surround you. Remember to hold the vision not just for what you want, but for who you want to be. You contain all potentials, and if you focus your vision and apply some creative energy, it’s only a matter of time before you grow into your vision. As the Sun moves into Aries next week, you get a reminder of what distinguishes you from others. It’s not merely going on in your imagination — it is your imagination, that is, your ability to think in images. Yet there is something else: a radical quality that ensures you play your own original tune, and that you’re never influenced by someone else unless you want to be.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

The Spiral Light of Venus

Dear Planet Waves Reader:

This weekend is the helical rise of Venus. That’s the point in the Venus retrograde cycle when Venus is far enough from the Sun that you can see her rise as the morning star. Though Venus is not yet stationing direct, the helical rise is the pivotal moment of the retrograde cycle, signifying a revelation of some kind, or of many kinds. This event is synchronous with Saturday’s Scorpio New Moon conjunct Vesta.

When Venus becomes visible in the morning sky (which will, if skies are clear, present some spectacular viewing on the predawn eastern horizon) she will be in Scorpio, which sets the tone for the next 18 months of her story. For the previous rise in early 2009, she was in Aries — a confrontational energy, often characterized by self-focus and a lack of empathy. Now she will be in Scorpio, which is deeper, more emotionally sensitive and evokes a sense of integrating relationship material in a cellular way.

Both Aries and Scorpio are signs ruled by Mars, where Venus is said to be less than happy (in the language of traditional astrology, one is her ‘detriment’ and the other is her ‘fall’). This relates to the challenges faced by a planet in a sign ruled by a seemingly opposing planet. If you have one of these placements, it’s a cause for consciousness, not worry. The ancients may have known a lot about astrology, but psychology hadn’t been invented, and many spiritual processes to which we have access today were not yet discovered.

Venus is the planet of emotional intelligence. Scorpio is one of the most emotionally driven signs, yet has a wide spectrum that reaches into the most sublime levels of soul consciousness. What the two also have in common is sex and our experience of it (sexuality), and the need for authentic empathy where this field of experience is entered. You could say that Venus retrograde in Scorpio is about embracing all that is different, all that does not seem to fit, all that makes no sense.

Many of the contradictions that we try to embody in exploring sexuality are covered beautifully by Venus retrograde in Scorpio, which I described earlier (at the suggestion of my friend Tracy) as yin penetrating itself.

What we have, I think, is an upcoming spell of more sensitive, deeper, more fully self-accepting feminine energy than the friction that Venus in Aries has offered us the past year-and-a-half. And that, I think, is good for everyone. We need depth, we need inner harmony and we need self-acceptance — and if you pause to think about it for a moment, we want these things too. They would go a long way toward solving all — and I do mean all — of our problems.

Of Witchcraft and Masturbation

Here in the States, we’ve just come through a particularly contentious election cycle that had a good few sexual overtones. All the usual social wedge issues (gayness, gay marriage, the alleged homosexual agenda to turn everyone else queer, whether gayness is or is not like alcoholism, don’t ask-don’t tell about gayness, and so on) all came up. Oh, I forgot abortion rights and why we shouldn’t have them; and the basically successful attempt at creating a generational divide on the issue of Medicare.

Planet Waves
Yum and double yum: a younger Christine O’Donnell gazes longingly as “youth pastor” Todd Hitchcock describes how any sex outside marriage, including masturbation, is just wrong. Photo: MTV screen shot.

But this year’s Awesome Award for Making the Election Memorable goes to Miss Christine O’Donnell, the Teabag-Republican [former] candidate for U.S. Senate in Delaware. In her concession speech she said she believed that politics would never be the same in Delaware — but I think she’s accomplished a lot more than that. For the first time since the mid-1990s, masturbation — the sex that we all have in common, and the most homosexual sex of all — made its way onto the national political radar.

For this we can thank MTV, which interviewed O’Donnell for a segment called Sex in the ’90s. In a segment of that program, she espoused various theories about masturbation, such as how it promotes lust, which is de facto adultery. Then, one thing leads to another and next thing you know, your fingers go into your knickers and you come out a sex fiend. This is not an original theory (the Mormons adore it), but it was original of Christine to take it onto the relatively groovy airwaves of MTV in the midst of the AIDS crisis. Educating young people about how they can have sex with themselves, or masturbate together, could have, and still can, save a lot of misery and promote pleasure and intimacy.

But her comments were not nearly as standout then as they turned out to be today. The episode called attention to how little attention masturbation gets, except for the occasional Pee Wee Herman or Spain sending out a press release that the topic will be taught in school. Let’s rewind to the last episode of masturbation making political news in the United States, which was in 1994 when then-Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders commented on the topic. Elders, for background, was the first African-American surgeon general and the second-ever woman to hold the position. She was appointed by Pres. Bill Clinton in 1993.

Planet Waves
Minnie Joycelyn Elders.

Speaking at a United Nations conference on AIDS, she was asked whether it would be appropriate to promote masturbation as a means of preventing young people from engaging in risky sex. She replied, “I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught.”

The resulting controversy was so enormous that Pres. Clinton fired her in December of that year. His chief of staff said, “There have been too many areas where the President does not agree with her views. This is just one too many.”

Skip ahead 16 years. Video — notably from early in the post-Elders era (1996) — surfaced, as these things do in the age of timeless data. In the Sex in the ’90s series, Christine was speaking on MTV about adultery and sex outside of marriage and masturbation as a moral issue — and today, everyone is laughing. In fact, laughing hysterically. She’s kidding, right? Everyone masturbates. Sex toys can now be found, um, everywhere! And she’s so adorable, talkin’ dirty like that! What a sexy young critter — describing walking with a pure heart, and telling us how selfish masturbation is, and it’s funnier than Cheech and Chong. Mostly because she’s so sincere and so authentic about it and she’s so gosh darned sweet, even if she’s totally clueless.

I asked Betty Dodson, one of the few people on the planet who has made masturbation her career, for a comment. “Christine lost her bid for Senate but she did masturbation a great service. I’ve been promoting this humble form of sexual expression for 40 years, and she managed to get the word into the public sphere that even surpassed Dr. Elders and all of my efforts. Wait until people discover that masturbation is the foundation for all of human sexuality.”

Well, some of us already have. And I think that the attempt to make masturbation a moral issue is based precisely on this fact.

Planet Waves
Planet Waves has offered to sponsor Christine O’Donnell for a private session with Betty Dodson, the Great Grandmother of Masturbation. She is seen here holding a Book of Blue postcard. Photo by Eric Francis.

Kinkier yet, she bills herself as a secondary virgin: she’s going to abstain from sex and apparently anything that might induce orgasm until she’s married. Now that’s hot. It’s the perfect image of Venus retrograde conjunct Vesta in Scorpio.

In the midst of the O’Donnell eipside, I cast her chart and sent it to Alan Oken, and in about ten minutes he wrote back and said: “She has a 10th house Virgo Sun. She’s a professional virgin.” He noted that America loves virgins. And we love Christine. She’s nothing if not lovable. Who cares that she doesn’t understand that separation of church and state is in the Constitution?

Plus — she’s not a witch! Which was some of the best public relations for pagans and Wiccans — ever. (This particular theme emerged from a segment of the Bill Maher show where O’Donnell admitted to dabbling in witchcraft when she was a teenager. It was only slightly weird then and it’s absolutely normal now.) Guess what! Pagans and witches actually exist and have been part of society since the first time somebody needed to ask someone else how to deal with poison ivy. Her Virgoish demeanor and aura of mischief says nothing if not a green witch — the kind who works with plants and spirit animals, brews up tonics and casts the occasional spell.

My friend Jenny, who is a witch, in fact a big leader in the witch community (she successfully lobbied the Defense Department to make the pentacle available as a religious emblem for the graves of Pagan veterans, over objections from the Bush administration), was telling any colleagues who might take offense at Christine’s protestations to get over themselves. There were only a few.

And now we’re all laughing at this whole scenario. It’s nearly impossible to take it seriously, or to perceive any real threat. While you might think I’m bringing up unimportant issues at a time in politics when we have to be confronting the potential for economic apocalypse, and when the official Teabag line is that sex doesn’t exist, I offer you this. When the topics of masturbation and witchcraft come up in American society and most people respond by laughing, and by thinking with certainty that masturbation is healthy, and that she makes an awfully cute witch, that is progress.

Tales From the Dark Side

Among the many facets to Venus retrograde in Scorpio is that we caught a glimpse at the dark side of politics. Unpleasant though it is, I believe we need to pay attention. The recent 5 to 4 Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court resulted in billions of dollars in anonymous advertising pumped into many districts in an attempt to sway elections in favor of Teabaggers and Republicans. This is corporate money, supporting corporate interests. It’s shadowy and anonymous and you cannot see it — all descriptions of Venus at the time of the elections. (Margin notes: Scorpio has many associations with corporate money; Venus is about resources; the retrograde helps us glimpse the darker shades, not often spoken of.)

Planet Waves
John Boehner, U.S. Representative from Ohio — the Tan Man — once gave out checks from tobacco lobbyists on the floor of the House of Representatives. He will replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Just think — that puts Boehner in the line of presidential succession.

We’ve caught a glimpse of the nasty artificial construct where a malcontent grassroots movement (the early Teabaggers) meets a corporatist uprising (all that money coming in from newly unleashed PACs and other organizations, supporting big big big business) — and the public gets duped in the process.

We have a whole cadre of Republican leadership that is talking openly about making no compromises and how their main goal for the next two years is going to be getting rid of Obama. The House of Representatives can now impeach him because he was, er, that’s it, he was born in Kenya. We have people proposing abolishing the minimum wage, turning Social Security over to Wall Street, and a rising tide of politicians who want to see Roe v. Wade repealed. This is dangerous for reproductive rights, and it would be dangerous for the right to privacy on which Roe is founded. And it’s one of the biggest backlashes against the progress of feminism, ever.

We face huge problems as a society. But in this moment when so much seems so uncertain, we have plenty to be grateful for. By this, I mean we have a lot to work with, and to build on, in terms of both social and political progress. (And I do believe it’s healthy to be grateful for every meal, every bill you pay and every time you turn the key to your front door.)

Planet Waves
Canvasser from New Voters Project (active on 100 campuses around the country) converts another young person to the religion of the constitutional republic. Photo: NH Pirg.

Speaking politically, I got a hint of what might actually be going well when I read a quotation from Billy Wimsatt at Huffington Post.

He wrote, “The silver lining in yesterday’s results for Democrats is that for four national elections in a row, young voters continue to be the most progressive segment of the population — and the most progressive generation on record since exit polling began in 1972. If this trend continues, the opportunity for progressive values and leadership to shape America’s future is enormous. But progressive investment in youth organizing and youth leadership has been spotty at best. The question now is whether progressive leaders and funders will draw the right lessons from 2010, seize the opportunity, and finally get serious about investing in the rising progressive electorate.”

Okay, electorate or citizenry. Politics or civic participation. We have the chance to involve a new generation in the running of society, which we need more than we need to ‘solve problems’. We need people who are aware, who care, and who get involved.

The same could be said for people whose dominant orientation has, for many years, been self-absorbed spirituality. The point of all this growth is happier people who work together to create a better world. Many are slowly developing a stomach for politics. Civics will be more fun.

Here are a few other signs of light and life. First, the best things in life aren’t things. We are free to invite one another over for dinner, make music together, spend the night together and gym memberships are still pretty cheap most places. Plus:

Planet Waves
Stephen Colbert, conservative spokesman for fear, in one of his many costume changes during the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Photographer unknown.

We have comedy. In the old days, daddy watched Johnny Carson and cool people watched Steve Martin and there were a few funny dudes out there (and reruns of The Flintstones and I Love Lucy). Now, comedy is taking the role of social leadership. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart brought a massive crowd to Washington to spread positive vibes. Colbert is so talented that some conservatives still think he’s a conservative. While these guys have been criticized for conflating the roles of satirist and newscaster into one, the thing is that their audiences have to be informed about the issues, or nobody would get the jokes. Meanwhile The Onion is a daily mirror into which we can gaze to see how ridiculous we are, and how absurd our society is — and laugh, not lament.

Laughing is healthy and floods the body with endorphins. It opens the way to other forms of creativity and pleasure. One of the main roles that comedy plays is to help us process shadow material. Together, comedians are eviscerating the concept of political correctness, which is like taking off a gag and handcuffs. And I wish I had the psychological study (I know it exists, but I don’t know where) that concluded that authentic laughter is evidence that fear has left. We could all stand to be less scared — we would get a LOT more done, and have tons more fun. One way to do that is to keep laughing. Now there are plenty of opportunities. Even the guy by the water cooler shows signs of genius.

Planet Waves
Keith Olbermann ‘tosses’ to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.

We have Rachel Maddow. Rachel, the first openly lesbian primetime news anchor, is teaching us how to think analytically. She is a geek’s geek (Rhodes scholar; military policy expert) who loves to fact check and is (if you ask me) funnier than any of the formidable talent on Comedy Central. Her viewpoint is extremely realistic. Listening to her speak, you see signs that she’s been devoted to her own therapy process, as evidenced by a mature and cultivated mind that doesn’t take itself too seriously. She’s highly pragmatic, she calls ridiculous things ridiculous, and she knows her stuff. My favorite thing about her is how balanced her left and right brain function is. Because she can integrate intuitive and intellectual process, she thinks on a higher level and is teaching us how to do so. And she’s not afraid of fear. She’s not afraid to confront people when they’re lying or spewing venom. She even mentioned Mercury retrograde on her program once, and she gave me her birth data.

We have Keith Olbermann, also on MSNBC. He is the voice of moral indignation. He is a journalist who is bigger than it all. His ‘special comments’ on the Iraq war and the Cheney-Bush administration were a vivid wake-up call. He too is brilliantly funny and sees the irony in everything, and is not put off by it. He’s another person saying deal with the facts. I view his background as a sportscaster as a plus. He supports my long-held view that sports writers have to be honest because everyone has seen the game and knows the rules. Meanwhile, Olbermann got Rachel Maddow her job, and he also brought in Lawrence O’Donnell, another primetime MSNBC guy who is genuinely pragmatic and who’s believing no lies; his new program gets better every night as he steps into his role. I recognize these programs all have some of the limitations of TV and corporate ownership — but even in the age of media conglomerates, they are doing more with television than many of us imagined possible. Obviously it is possible, and half of us have video cameras and editing software on our computers. If you have talent, this is the era in history when you can actually express it.

The economic downturn has a bright side, which is that many people feel compelled to do what is important to them as a last resort. Faced with no other choice, it’s always possible to pursue your real interests and try to make a living doing what you love. No, it’s not always easy — but it’s possible. The recession is happening at a time when we have excellent technological tools at our disposal, both to find work and to create a business. For the cost of a modest vacation, a person can outfit a home office in such a way that would have made The Wall Street Journal IT department drip with envy 20 years ago, or create an arsenal for citizen action. Yes, this requires technological literacy — just like getting a good job, starting a business or working in civics have always required ordinary literacy. Speaking of which:

Planet Waves
The shape of the online universe, which looks a little like a slice of DNA. This image shows the hierarchical structure of the Internet, based on the connections between individual nodes (such as service providers). Three distinct regions are apparent: an inner core of highly connected nodes, an outer periphery of isolated networks, and a mantle-like mass of peer-connected nodes. The bigger the node, the more connections it has. Those nodes that are closest to the center are connected to more well-connected nodes than are those on the periphery. More info here.

We have the Internet. You can say a lot of bad things about the Internet and how vapid it is, but it’s also one of the most powerful tools in the history of communication — and nearly everyone who wants to can get on. Information is available. It is possible to research nearly any topic exhaustively, without being charged by the minute. We have someplace to publish our ideas and to experiment with art. We can communicate with people in any country, which is making the world a smaller place with more in common. We have to use this tool wisely and well; indeed, we must become very good at it, and keep using it for loving, constructive purposes.

We have separation of powers. This is a provision in the U.S. Constitution that makes it difficult for one branch of the government to get over on any other branch. If there is a Congress that has no concern for the citizens, the president can veto its legislation. It sucks that the Supreme Court is stacked with Monsanto loyalists and Neocons, and they are doing some damage — but even that won’t last forever, if we pay attention. We do need to remember what James Madison said about how when all the branches of government are controlled by the same interests, that is the definition of tyranny. Therefore the mix has to be diverse enough to have varied opinions and sufficient harmony to run the business. (What we are experiencing now is indeed a game, one that mainly conceals how sold out the government is to the corporate system. You really need to figure out what this means structurally and economically; it’s not that hard, and it’s liberating to grasp the concept. This is not merely a political slogan — the government is a tool to the corporate interests and it wants to see itself that way; that’s the concept of ‘small government’.)

The Uranus-Pluto square is coming soon. I’ve watched a thousand or so hours of cable news the past year or so, and go figure, nobody has even mentioned this. That aspect — making seven contacts between 2012 and 2015 — is the essence of what we are calling 2012. The contact between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn is a beautiful image of how personal awakening influences corporate and government reform. This is very handy in a time when we will soon discover that we have no choice but to do something, personally, rather than waiting for someone else to do it for us.


Planet Waves
The Shirt Factory, in Kingston, NY, has 6,000 panes of glass, from many different eras. Photo by Eric Francis.

What we need is a vision. Wednesday night, on her first program after the elections, Rachel Maddow began her program by asking, “So where do we go from here?” That IS the question.

Part of the problem we face is that the dominant philosophy of our culture and the current world problems perpetuate one another. And part of why that happens is that we seem to be lacking a vision of how the world can be. We’re afraid to state openly what we want — afraid of cynics and of being criticized and of having our idealism torn down.

We need to be better at moving resources into our ideas, and sticking with them for long enough so they have a chance to manifest. We need to learn the art of cooperation. Real politics among healthy people would be about creating solutions that work for everyone, or at least figuring out how to make room for everyone.

We need to build, and nourish, a vision of a world that is happy and free, inviting and welcoming wellbeing and pleasure. We need a world where those who want healing can seek and find it easily. We need a world of people who are willing to take a chance and create something original. We need a world of people who are willing to cooperate with one another. This is already happening, in large and small ways. Yes, we need problem solvers, but that only goes so far. At a certain point, solving what we think of as problems means taking them up as opportunities to create something better — not because we need to, but because we want to. This is not merely a rhetorical trick. Anyone who has ever done it knows what I am talking about. At a certain point, necessity becomes desire, and that is when the light shines through.

This weekend, Venus begins to rise as the morning star in the eastern sky. She does so in a sign that grants access to the deeper levels of the emotions. Then the next thing that happens is that she enters Libra, which is where we experience the sensation of justice, balance and equanimity — and she returns to direct motion.

We can, and we will, get it right: as long as we want to.

From the poet Robert Hunter:

Yours & truly,

Eric Francis

Judith Gayle’s Political Waves will now appear Saturdays on Daily Astrology & Adventure — the Planet Waves blog. She also has her own blog, called Political Waves.


Scorpio Birthday/Ascendant Report Done

Dear Scorpio Planet Waves Reader:

I’ve just finished the Scorpio report. It’s available for instant access at this link.

Planet Waves

Not surprisingly, I’ve got a lot to say about relationships in this report, particularly the theme of integrating relationships into your psyche, with two goals: one is calling back your projections, so that you can perceive others in their true form; and the other is cultivating emotional independence from relationships, so that you’re free to make your decisions unencumbered by excessive responsibility to others.

Your quest for accomplishment is also a quest for freedom, which has mental and emotional components. Yet by the time Chiron reaches Pisces, this will take on a distinctly creative, erotic and adventurous flavor.

It will be obvious that your life is about having fun, and this sense of openness will lead into a deeper sense of a healing mission. That works out to be a combined creative/healing mission — they are the same thing for you right now — though the access point seems to be less about being on a healing table and more about being in an art studio, making a film or otherwise becoming a full-on creature of the night. You’re entering a time when it will be more fun, easier and more profitable to let your passions guide you. This is in part a message from Mars in Sagittarius, your house of resources and money.

I cover the recent movement of Vesta, Mercury and Venus in your sign, as well as your ruling planet Mars venturing into Scorpio.

This recording is four segments of astrology, with a careful look at all of the houses that are highlighted, and one segment of tarot. My focus on the houses makes this report equally applicable for Scorpio rising — the ascendant implies the houses, which I look at carefully and use with some precision.

This report is different than Light Bridge, which will take a whole new look at your astrology from several different angles, as well as consider transits going further into the future.

Once again, here is your link for instant access.

Yours & truly,

Eric Francis


Planet Waves

Weekly Horoscope for Friday, November 5, 2010, #838 – BY ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
What would it mean not to have power struggles in your relationships? To not wrangle over sex, money and attention? For one thing it would mean you have a lot more time and energy on your hands. You would have plenty more fun, better sex and you would worry less. You would probably have more money, too. In general the less struggle you have, the more abundance you can have. And how do you do this? In a word, flexibility. That would be flexibility about who you are; in your perception of who others are; and most of all, in your ideas about what relationships are ‘supposed to be’ and the supposed laws that govern them. Your emotions are made to flow like water. Now is the time to let it collect, so that you feel confident going deeper; because when you go deeper, you will feel better.
Aries Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.
Taurus (April 19- May 20)
One of the most intriguing things about Taurus is that in the solar house system, the sign associated with your house of deep surrender (the 8th) is Sagittarius. This overlays the energy of profound emotional release, and interpersonal bonding, with a sense of mystical longing and cosmic quest. It would be helpful if you could identify these two groups of feelings like the individual notes in a chord or rays of light in a spectrum. They can combine to make one harmonic or frequency, and you can experience them as discrete energies. Such an experiment would be a potent way of looking into a mirror of your own consciousness. At the moment you may feel like you’re peering into the dark with respect to ‘who you really are’. You may feel there is no chance you will gain such a clear understanding anytime soon — but a revelation is at hand; a light is about to appear where you thought there was none.
Taurus Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)
I’ve expressed the idea that for Gemini, sexual health is health. I would affirm this for everyone, because we’re all human with something basic and fundamental in common: though for Gemini, this idea arrives in your chart as a specific mission or special point of access. Perhaps as the first ‘human sign’ of the 12, you’re a prototype or example for the rest of us. The light is dawning in Gemini first: sexual healing resides at the core of the healing process. All true healing involves a person learning to relate to his or her creative nature; there is also the distinctly erotic dimension of relating directly to existence/nonexistence, and this in turn involves the full integration of shadow material. We often take our dark emotions for granted, as something we can never resolve. You are ready to see the light of the soul and feel the movement of your emotions.
Gemini Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.


Cancer (June 21- July 22)
To be an artist, it helps if you direct your financial and creative resources into your creative process. To be a lover, it helps if you choose love and allow conflict and judgment to dissolve like dust. To be an adventurer, you step outside of your home. To take a risk, there’s an essential element of being willing to let go of something ‘safe’ for the mere potential of experiencing something better. There is an element of sacrifice in each of these ideas, but it’s not sacrifice the way we usually think of it. In the true sense, it’s the process of transforming what does not serve us into what does. It’s about giving up what we don’t want in exchange for what we do, and part of that is releasing our attachment to what is not actually helpful. These attachments all have stories, which are like energy roots that we can let go of — if we use full awareness, and more to the point, if we really want to.

Cancer Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
This weekend’s Scorpio New Moon takes place conjunct Vesta, in your 4th house of security and home. This is your cosmic Thanksgiving, an opportunity to spend some time appreciating and caring for the physical space you occupy. On the inner plane, it’s a moment to get your emotional priorities in order. Life is easier when we have a clear sense of what is important to us, because that provides an organizing principle around which we can arrange all that other stuff we think about. Knowing what is the most meaningful is an excellent opportunity to let the less meaningful things simmer down, and to spend some time in full acknowledgement of what you want. One word for this is ‘centered’. That’s an excellent way to think of it; and the beautiful thing is that you have a center you can access; your core fire is hot and healthy, and you actually do know what is the most meaningful to you. Give those things the time and space to have a deep healing effect on your life, and remind you how good it’s possible to feel.

Leo Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
You’re blessed with penetrating perception, and the ability to evaluate yourself somewhat brutally. Together they can be a dangerous combination, when that deep ability to perceive is turned on yourself. Yet the screech you hear is feedback, not music. I propose that you’re at a point in your growth when you can ease back on the evaluation bit and notice who you actually are. That person is simpler than previous estimates have defined you as being, and eminently kind. You no longer have to live up to anyone’s seeming expectations. In the words of my Virgo friend Beth, nobody is your judge and jury. It’s one thing to ‘know’ that and another to have it dawn on your mind like the Sun rising after a long night. Hold that thought. Phrase it as a question and as a statement. Note who comes to mind. One last thought — all judgment is based on comparison, and comparison is based on the past. Step into the moment — this moment — and your new perspective will come into focus.

Virgo Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
The gift of this moment is your recognition of what you have and how much you’ve accomplished. They are related, though you seem to be taking the next step into the full acceptance of what this says about you as a person. Let’s make sure we get this in the right order, though: it’s not your accomplishments that create your worth, but rather your presence and sincere values that create your accomplishments. This recognition alone is enough to speed your life forward. There is the suggestion here that it’s now easier to be in harmony with yourself than it has been for many moons. Think of this harmony as a state of inner consensus. True consensus involves a group of people who have similar enough values, being able to make a decision based on those values. This now applies to any decision you make. Among the many seemingly different internal voices you hear, remember — you’re the One.

Libra Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.


Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
This weekend’s New Moon in your birth sign comes with another revelation: the helical rise of Venus. This is the moment when retrograde Venus becomes visible as the morning star. You could say that this sets the tone of Venus for the next 18 months. Venus in Scorpio is a deeper process than the prior helical rise, which was in Aries: a confrontational, defensive energy for Venus. In Scorpio, you gain depth from fully embracing the process of integration. Gradually, what was different, alien, unfamiliar and irrational breaks down into its many components and becomes part of you. This will allow you to do something profound, which is address your various opposites as an internal factor rather than as something you need to project in order to see. You may experience the birth of what I’ll describe as deep feminine consciousness, and embrace this fully even if it’s a little off your usual radar. Venus attracts, she receives and most of all, she emanates an elegant ray of light.

The Scorpio Audio Report is now done. This reading includes more than an hour of astrology and 20 minutes of tarot custom created for those with Scorpio Sun, Moon or rising. Please see letter above horoscopes for full description or use this link for instant access.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
It is sometimes shocking the extent to which ‘inner space’ does not exist for many people — but lately it certainly exists for you. Indeed, your inner world may be more real than the outer one, and you may feel more content existing in your feeling body than any other. But Mars in your sign is saying that however real your inner world may seem, it’s time to take action in the three-dimensional world around you. That means pushing your agenda; it means having an effect; and that means feeling the repercussions. Normally you don’t worry about that part; but for some reason now you’re feeling more poignantly, and self consciously, the responses of others. This is a good thing, if you ask me; rather than going out and conquering the world, you need to relate to the people and space around you with full sensation. You will still have access to your volition and your single-minded ability to focus on a goal. The gift will be integrating the simple idea that ‘easy does it’.
Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
Rob Hand, perhaps the preeminent astrologer of our day, once said to me that the study of the world can be divided into two categories — psychology and physics. One considers the mind, and the other how the material world works. Many recent episodes of your life have involved physics — the seemingly intractable laws of energy, motion and addressing the concept of limitation. Now your life boils down to psychology: the study of what motivates people, and of how they respond to their feelings. In particular, consider the psychology of groups: of how one person’s sensation of life, or experience of self, influences that of the people around them. Your ability to do this, and even to consider the sense of doing so, will help you significantly in a short while. Remember, people never do things for ‘no reason’. There is always a reason. You may not ‘agree’ with it, but you certainly want to be aware of what it is.

Capricorn Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
You have some complex career goals. Yet you also have the sense of many things adding up to one, or perhaps awareness of the one essential element that unites them all. Usually you sense this element like a plant’s roots reach for water. Now you have more in common with a plant’s leaves reaching toward light. There’s something new that you want, and at the same time this honors a deep sense of mission that has always been part of your world. I’m not talking about a goal in the conventional sense, but rather honoring a sense of purpose that is palpable, real and available to your senses. What changes do you need to make in order to be free to explore this potential? As far as I can tell, you’ve already made most of them. Remember, just because you focus on one thing does not eclipse all the others. Indeed, it’s within the quality of the moment that it will feed and nourish the rest.

Aquarius Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
One distinctive Pisces quality is that of feeling your way into the future. Another is how the past, the present and the future can meld into one simultaneous experience, which can cloud your ability to know which is which. To see ahead, it’s necessary for you to apply some form of extra consciousness. At the moment, it’s as if you’re being called forward by a star. This star is saying, above all, that there is a future; there is a whole dimension of existence that you have never experienced, and that is actually available. Some factor or element of your life now is beckoning you toward this experience. You can trust this guidance, and the gesture of trust will feed your confidence. If you want to use feeling as navigation, feel for who and what you want the most — and you will place your steps and your choices in the right direction. Move without resistance, and feel your doubt disappear like mist in the light.
Pisces Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.